"Fatty" Arbuckle and Buster Keaton, arguably the greatest comedy team of their time, team up in a western comedy. Be warned, there is a scene in the middle that will offend some with its racist tone. This should not spoil the movie. The IMDb entry is at
August 24, 2008 Subject:
not about story
These early one-reelers were more about gags than story. I have no idea what the story was here but there were several good gags.
I suffers from the lo-res video, but this print is at least borderline adequate
May 3, 2008 Subject:
Maybe you had to be there...
It's Arbuckle and Keaton and St. John, so I can't give it the lowest rating, but it's pretty bad. It's a classic example of how to waste the talents of 3 fine comedians: give them a chaotic story line that goes nowhere, turn Buster Keaton into a cynical killer who spends most of his screen time sitting around working objects instead of moving, and base the script on parody instead of original gags and situations.
I had to force myself to sit through this one.
There are a few good spots, including a surprisingly acrobatic performance by Arbuckle, given his size, especially on the train but also riding horses. There's some really good camera work, including a nice view of some people running on top of a train (though it goes on a bit too long, and also has no "punch" at the end). Both Keaton and St. John have a good moment or two with physical gags. The drunken horse is not bad, either (is that the same animal that Buster left his hand prints on in "The Blacksmith"?)
That's about all the good I can say about it, though.
Yes, the scene where the black man is harassed is offensive, but at least they get the girl in there at the end to tell the harassers that they should be ashamed of themselves. The Indian and Mexican bandit stereotypes are pretty bad, too, and pass unchallenged. This was 1918, though, and true to the times, so you just have to look at it and be glad we've come a long way since then. My major grouse is with St. John's attack of the girl. It's not funny at all; it's 180 degrees from the scenes in the girl's schools where Keaton and St. John and another henchman in "The Butcher Boy." I think it's because of intent. The scenes in "The Butcher Boy" are hilarious because the men have totally lost control of the situation; here, the background situation is serious and there's no satisfying "knock-out punch" scene to resolve it as there is in a similar scene in "Sherlock, Jr." (Spoiler alert) Fatty and Buster tickle Al to distract him from Alice, and that's just too weird to believe. And then it goes downhill (literally) from there.
You know something's missing when you wish somebody would just throw a pie.....